As many regional theater companies pivot to livestreamed performances in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, GableStage in Coral Gables is going one step further, launching [email protected], an edgy two-month festival of newly commissioned works, most by local artists.
“GableStage’s Board of Directors created [the series] to replace the cancelled 2019-2020 season of live theater due to the COVID-19 shutdown,” said general manager Isabel Almaraz in an announcement for the series. “The purpose of the program is to empower artists to create short-form digital content, in any artistic discipline, that remains consistent with GableStage’s mission of producing work that confronts today’s issues and ideas with innovative productions that entertain, educate, and challenge diverse audiences.”
The premieres were selected after a competitive application process, with submissions chosen that exemplify the multiple Carbonell Award-winning company’s values of “thought-provoking and engaging entertainment that also highlight a diverse group of artists, voices, and stories,” explained series director Margaret Ledford.
The series launches Friday, July 31 at 7 p.m. with “Sight & Sound,” an original photomontage by photographer George Schiavone set to a newly created musical score by sound designer Matt Corey, “a retrospective and new perspective on GableStage productions of the past two decades.” The opening production also serves as a tribute to the company’s founder and artistic director, Joseph Adler, who died of cancer in April.
Highlights of the series include:
“My Black Body” by Kunya Rowley, Aug. 7, is an interdisciplinary performance that will use song, spoken word, text, digital design, movement and photography to amplify the narrative of what it means to walk through life in a body that is black. Black art song and spirituals provide the foundation for this performance of celebration and reclamation of blackness that is part concert, part spoken word and wholly theatrical.
“A Florida Story” by Caleb Scott and Jessica Farr, Aug. 21, tells the stories of the hundreds of people whose anonymous faces constantly pop up in mug-shots and headlines all across Florida and become “Florida man” memes. These monologues give voice to the misunderstood and the misrepresented, celebrating the secret trials and unspoken desires of the underdog, the outlier and the renegade.
“Pretty Boy Josh” by Joshua Hernandez, Aug. 28, explores the stigma of homosexuality in the Miami Latinx community, illustrates the dangers of hyper-masculinity and voices the possibility of living an optimistic queer life. Told through the lens of a gay, Latino and chronically ill young man, this piece utilizes video projections, voiceovers, movement, acting, archival footage and sound to express his personal story in a series of transitional multimedia waves.
“American Bullet” by Rachel Finley, Sept. 4, is based on Finley’s own experience as a parent who learned there was an active shooter situation at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, her son’s school. In this multimedia performance, the playwright and performer combines music, film, spoken word poetry, acting, symbolic movement and innovative costuming to create a visceral exploration of America’s obsession with violence, munitions and the price of our “freedom.”
“We have a unique opportunity to capture such diverse voices in a short format. We — the board and myself — drilled down into the mission of GableStage and each of these pieces in their own way uphold that mission,” Ledford said, also noting the digital format will extend the local company’s audience globally. “It’s very exciting.”
[email protected] will premiere new works in the series on Fridays, July 31 – Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. at GableStage.org. All performances are free.